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Skid Row (Unrated)





Release Date: August 24th, 2007 (Village East Cinemas) by Screen Media Films.
Directed by Ross Clarke, Niva Dorell and Marshall Tyler.

BASIC PREMISE: A documentary about the conditions of skid row in Los Angeles.

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: In this mildly intriguing documentary, Pras Michel, one of the three musicians from the Fugees, goes undercover as a homeless man in the skid row section of Los Angeles. A hidden camera records the daily and nightly activities of the many druggies who struggle to survive on the streets. The majority of the footage, which feels redundant and isnít particularly surprising, merely shows the poor conditions there. When Pras goes to a homeless shelter for breakfast, he seems shocked that the food is barely edibleówell, what did he expect? Every now and then, co-directors Ross Clarke, Niva Dorell and Marshall Tyler include some statistics, such as that over 11,000 people live in Los Angelesí skid row which is much more than those in New York. They also trace the fascinating history of the skid row, but itís too brief and should have been included very early on in the film. Unfortunately, Skid Row fails to humanize any of the people living in skid row. It especially neglects to synthesize and analyze all of the statistics and observations to turn them into compelling, provocative and powerful arguments beyond mere observations.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: Other than acknowledging the obvious problem of such extreme, inhumane conditions and life-threatening behavior, it would have helped to hear some feedback from sociologists, psychologists or even someone in the government who could trace the problem of such serious problems to its roots. Observing the nature of the problem opens up a metaphysical can of worms, but Skid Row fails to do anything more than that.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: Often redundant and lacking proper synthesis of the facts and observations.

NUMBER OF TIMES I CHECKED MY WATCH: 5

IN A NUTSHELL: Mildly intriguing, but often redundant and not enough synthesis of the facts and observations.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: DVD


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